So near but so far, words that have once again described our season. For the third year running we have finished third and therefore missed out once again on promotion. After last year’s controversy we started the season with great determination and at the end of July we were top, winning 9 out of 12 games, the other three losing out only to the weather after beginning totally in control.
Unfortunately we then lost two crucial games one to Loughton, who were promoted and the other to strugglers Hutton, both due to poor batting displays. This meant as we came to the last day of the season, it was not in our own hand and although we won so did the others and we missed out by two points.
Two days before this game, players and club members were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Pat Sweeney, a greatly respected and loved member of our club. The Club’s members were so impressed with the way our team went about the task, in such sad and difficult circumstances.
We also note the passing of Club stalwarts Ken Scolding & Des Rose.
Ken was a longstanding member of the Club starting in 1948 who held many positions including Sunday captain but it is as Treasurer, a position he held for 20 years, he is fondly remembered chasing the youngsters for their subscriptions. Des played for the Club mainly during the 1960’s and 1970’s and was 3rd XI Captain during that time.
They will all be sadly missed.
To win 13 games and not go up with 259 points has probably not been equalled, but that is HORNCHURCH LUCK! Paul Murray, as well as captaining the side was again our leading batsman with 668 league runs. His total commitment to the club is quite unbelievable, being head coach as well and not missing a single game or training session. After three years at the club Kym Beazleigh has left us to return to Australia. Kym was a superb batsman for us showing his quality on many occasions this year. We wish him all the best in the future. It was great to have Cameron Nupier back with us this season and although he did not repeat his incredible feat of 10 wickets and 100 runs in one match, he regularly contributed in a significant manner and we welcome him back once again for 2010.
Marc Whitlock and Craig Smith were our leading wicket takers with 43 and 37 wickets respectively. After making his debut in 2008, Billy Gordon continued to impress, regularly scoring runs as opening batsman in our 1st XI. He has spent the winter in Australia playing cricket and we look forward to seeing his progress this season. It was also a great encouragement to see three other youngsters making their 1st XI team debut’s, Michael Bones, Jack Filtness and Jamie Sorrell and I have no doubt all will regularly feature in years to come. Our 2nd XI were strengthened by having Cameron’s brother Joel with us this year. One innings in particular he scored 178 off just 58 balls, typified his outstanding talent.
Andy Roberts was again the leading run scorer with Dean Skipper taking most wickets. Dean captained the side throughout the season and did an excellent job as we narrowly missed out on promotion. Under Dean’s continued leadership in 2010 we are are hoping for a promotional place.
The 3rd XI under Barry Bones captaincy also did well. Many of our youngsters regularly played in that side and continually made significant contributions. Barry however, was the leading wicket taker, well done to the old one!
Alan Foxton’s 4th XI were once again predictable in coming 2nd for the fourth consecutive season. There were many good performances, including Mike Keanly’s batting and Alan’s bowling. Finishing leading wicket taker even though he suffered the indignity of being called a Pie Chucker on one occasion.
Although our 5th and 6th teams did not do so well last season we realised they are made up of a number of many youngsters between 13 and 15 years and we were encouraged by the progress many made and that significant improvements will be seen this season.
The Jeff Rodriguez Trophy for U15/O40’s was a repeat of last years final against Fives & heronians with us taking revenge this year.
We have entered into the Essex Sunday League this season to enable the younger members to experience competitive cricket on a Sunday.
There is no doubt youth cricket is the future at our club as our Cricket for All Programme continues to discover many talented youngsters, we are really encouraged to learn just what a successful season it had been for all our youth teams. Our youth presentation evening was a great occasion and we are sure if we had a little luck we would have won honours at all levels.
The commitment many coaches and managers put in throughout the season is quite remarkable and we thank them all for their effort.
As has been said many times, the overall success of our club is, off the field as well as on it. We are fortunate to have a number of dedicated members, none more than Doug Shewring and Jackie Cubitt. Another predictable part of our season is coming top of the Essex Neame hospitality table. Jackie’s tea’s and baguettes are undoubtedly the best, all who have sampled them throughout the season will join me in thanking her.
We once again take this opportunity to reinforce our commitment to the local community and to raise the profile of cricket in the area, surely something we can all benefit from.
We take time in thanking our Sponsors Grove & Dean, Sportsmatch, The Jack Petchey Foundation as well as our numerous advertising sponsors all who provide significant and welcome financial help to enable the Club to achieve it’s aims.
May we conclude by offering a warm welcome to all players, umpires, scorers and spectators visiting Harrow Lodge and our associated grounds during the season.
We look forward to the 2010 season being kinder to Hornchurch Cricket Club.